Sold for $115 Million, David Rockefeller’s Picasso Will Go on View at the Musee d’Orsay

The work will go on view in Paris in September.

Pablo Picasso, Fillette à la corbeille fleurie (1905). Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd.
Pablo Picasso, Fillette à la corbeille fleurie (1905). Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd.

Pablo Picasso’s Young Girl With Basket of Flowers (1905), which sold at Christie’s last week for $115 million as part of the Rockefeller family’s record-setting estate sale, will go on loan to Paris’s Musee d’Orsay for a Picasso exhibition opening in September.

The early work, which depicts a nude young girl with a flower basket, was reportedly bought by the Nahmad family, two sources told the New York Times. The powerful international family of art traders has a large collection of works by Picasso estimated to number more than 300.

The painting’s new owners will in turn lend it to the French museum. A spokesperson for the Musée d’Orsay confirmed the loan deal in an article by AFP“We’re very happy,” a spokesperson for the museum told the French press agency. (The spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for further comment by artnet News.)

Concentrating on Picasso’s work from 1900 to 1906, which includes his important blue and rose periods, “Picasso: Blue and Rose” will run at the Musee d’Orsay from September 18 to January 6, 2019, after which a modified version of the show will travel to the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, Switzerland.

The Nahmad family did not immediately respond to artnet News’s request for comment. In a conversation with the Times, the dealer Helly Nahmad declined to identify his family as the buyer, saying only, “It’s a great painting.”

Despite the work’s challenging subject matter and the absence of many of Picasso’s most recognizable hallmarks, it still sold for the sixth-highest sum ever paid for a work of art at auction (including fees). It was buoyed by an illustrious provenance that includes not only the Rockefeller name, but also legendary American collectors Gertrude and Leo Stein, who bought the work directly from the artist’s studio.

In 1968, David Rockefeller formed a consortium of collectors to acquire the Stein collection. Each put his name into a felt hat in order to determine who would get first pick. Rockefeller emerged victorious; Young Girl With Basket of Flowers was his top choice.

During last week’s auction, however, the offering lacked the fireworks many had hoped it might spark. It attracted only a single bid to the guarantor (a buyer who essentially agrees to buy the work at an agreed-upon price before the sale).


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